Is teaching driving you to drink?

Shock, horror! A third of all school staff have turned to alcohol to cope with workplace stress or anxiety in the last year, according to research from the Education Support Partnership. One headteacher explains why you should cut yourself some slack in Teachwire.

Two small glasses of pinot and an M&S meal for two to say TFI Friday, or being found slumped in the boiler room surrounded by empty cans of Tennent’s Super lager?

At 37 percent, compared with teachers at 30%, heads and leaders are even more inclined to seek the solution to those poor SATs results at the bottom of a glass. But then, management salaries can afford a bigger booze bill.

The report identified a large rise in insomnia, irritability and tearfulness among education professionals, and that senior leaders were more likely to suffer from all these symptoms than teachers.

Sadly, leaders are sometimes their own worst enemies, becoming the victims of their own lack of control, poor judgement or simply an unwillingness to say no. Remember, not everything has to be done to Rolls Royce standards; occasionally an old Ford Fiesta will get you there just as well.

The DfE were concerned enough to set up a Workload Advisory Group and their recommendations include:

  • Having only simple systems to log behaviour incidents and other pastoral information
  • Minimising or eliminating the number of pieces of information teachers are expected to compile
  • Reviewing your approach to reporting and parental engagement in a way that is manageable for teachers
  • Having no more than two or three attainment data collection points a year
  • Not making pay progression for teachers dependent on quantitative assessment metrics, such as test outcomes

Frankly, if you are spending ridiculous amounts of time at work, no wonder you turn to alcohol. You are not the Wolf of Wall Street; at best, you are the Bunny of Bash Street. Forget the macho long hours: regular 12-hour days mean you are doing the job wrong.

Next time governors or inspectors (or, in teachers’ case, your head) ask you for some non-essential piece of data, stand up for yourself: if it’s not on the school improvement plan or it will not add anything for the children, just say no!

Read the full article Is teaching driving you to drink?

Is the stress driving you to drink or just bite the head off another chocolate Easter Bunny? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Employment, Health, Leadership, Mental Health, Primary, Secondary and Teaching.

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